FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England forward Dimitry Imbongo paved the way for the Juan Agudelo-inspired uptick and that combined with his own 62 minutes on the field helped pave the way for the Revolution's 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night.
Imbongo harried and hassled the Dynamo rearguard during his time on the field. He didn't get on the scoresheet, but he managed to avoid a third dismissal in three meetings with Houston this season and then set the stage for Agudelo to influence the game in the final half hour.
Agudelo's arrival created the space seemingly unavailable before he entered the fray in the 62nd minute. Saër Sène's opener two minutes later and the series of chances generated in the final 30 minutes revealed his impact and the importance of Imbongo's earlier work on the evening.
“I thought Agudelo did an excellent job coming in, but I have to be honest with you, I thought Dimi played his heart out,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps told MLSsoccer.com. “Dimitry was excellent at holding the ball and making the smart play. It didn't take a genius to look at the field and see what was happening. The first play of the game, he gets his ankle rolled up on. Dimi did an excellent job of holding it and keeping his head. And then I like that one-two combo because once Agudelo comes in, their centerbacks are tired from battling Dimi and Juan Agudelo is really able to change the game.”
Agudelo's movement offered the proper contrast to Imbongo's earnest target work. Operating room suddenly emerged through the middle of the park and permitted Lee Nguyen to slip Sène in for the opener. Agudelo thrashed his own half-volley over the bar as the Revs searched for a killer second, but Will Bruin's well-taken equalizer pegged them back in the final quarter of an hour.
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“We had a good run of play for sure,” Revolution defender Chris Tierney said. “We created plenty of chances. Had we taken one, I think 2-0 would have been curtains for them. Unfortunately, we didn't get that goal. It's disappointing. On the whole, I thought we played pretty well tonight. I think we created enough chances to win the game, we had the better of the play. But they're a good team and they have players up top who will punish you if you make that one mistake. Unfortunately, they did.”
The final result offered a necessary lesson ahead of the final four games, but the influence of both Agudelo and Imbongo ensured the Revs grabbed something from this tricky encounter ahead of difficult excursions to New York and Montréal over the next two weeks.
“We created a lot,” Revolution midfielder Scott Caldwell said. “[Agudelo] held the ball up and he brought an extra energy. They were tired defensively. Dimi also did a great job when he was in there. The last half-hour, we definitely created stuff. We just need to put that final chance away.”